Pet Care Information
Budgerigars (Budgies) would have to be one of the most popular pet birds in Australia. Their charm and intelligence appeals to both young and old. If trained from a young age your budgie is often able to imitate human speech and common sounds like the telephone. Even if your budgie is not trained it will delight you with its constant play and chatter.
Table of Contents:
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- Useful items for your budgie
- Favourite treats
- Selecting your budgie
Use this handy list to help you select the necessary items to care for your budgie:
- Budgie mix
- Cuttlebone or calcium bell
- Sandsheets or shellgrit
- Worming medication
- Night cover for cage
- Millet sprays
The style of cage you choose for your budgie will depend a lot on your personal taste and the area the cage will be kept. It is best to try and purchase the largest cage that is suitable to ensure the bird will have an adequate area to move around, even when toys are added. Some cages cater for tame birds by allowing the front to open up, which makes it easier to get the bird in and out when it is on your hand.
Most cages come with either plastic or wooden dowel perches, which force the budgie to always have itís feet in the same position. We recommend removing at least one of the perches and replacing it with a tree branch, this will allow the budgie to stretch its feet when it lands.
The cage should be positioned in an area free from draughts and at a reasonably constant temperature. Never place the budgie right next to a window, fireplace or heater or in the direct path of an air conditioner. The vast fluctuations in temperature may result in chills which can be severe. Your budgie may enjoy being hung outside during the day, ensure that the cage is secure and will have some shade all day. Remember to bring the bird in before it gets too cold in the afternoon.
At dusk it is a good idea to cover the budgie cage with a cover or towel, this allows the bird to roost at a natural hour and provides it with security.
Hygiene is important with all pets, we recommend cleaning your budgie cage at least once a week and using Sandsheets or Shellgrit in the base of the tray.
Budgies are very playful birds and will enjoy toys added to their cage, if you wish to train the budgie avoid mirrors though as the budgie will talk to the other budgie (its reflection) instead of you.
Always feed your budgie fresh quality seed and water that is replaced daily. Your budgie should be given a piece of Cuttlebone which will help file its beak and provide calcium in the diet. Budgies will also eat Millet Sprays and Seedbells as well as some vegetables and fruits. Some of their favourites are apple, spinach and lettuce, always feed vegetables and fruits in small amounts.
Your budgie should be wormed every three months along with all other pets and members of the household. We recommend using Avitrol Plus bird wormer.
If you notice that your budgieís toenails are overgrown they must be clipped. If left they will be uncomfortable for the bird and may catch in the cage wire. When clipping ensure that you do not cut the blood vein that runs into the nail.
If you would like to train your budgie we recommend selecting a cock (male) budgie rather than a hen (female) as they are considered better talkers and easier to train. Cocks have a blue cere and hens a brown cere (which is on top of their beak).
Young birds are very impressionable and it is important to start gaining the birdís confidence early. Select a budgie which is 6 to 8 weeks old.
If you do not plan to train your bird or expect to have to leave it alone in the house all day. It is often better to keep two birds, this way the birds will have the companionship of each other and will not get lonely.
We recommend leaving the bird to adjust to its new environment the day you take it home.
- To train any animal you must gain its confidence, so start talking to the bird regularly in a gentle voice.
- Next get the bird used to you and your hand, place it in the cage as you feed the bird each day. Continue regularly until the bird is comfortable with your hand and doesnít flutter around the cage.
- Start placing your finger against the birdís stomach (just higher than the perch), the bird will usually step up onto your finger as it is higher than the perch.
- Practice this for a few days then select a small safe room in the house to take the bird out of the cage. You should cover mirrors, close curtains and windows. If the bird flys in the room, do not chase it, just wait for it to land and calmly pick it up. It may take a few attempts before the bird stays with you but keep reassuring the bird and it should eventually stay on your finger or shoulder.
- Even if your bird is tame never take it outside on your shoulder, it might just surprise you how well it can still fly.
- To teach your bird to talk pick a simple word or phrase and repeat it regularly, speech may take days or months to master.
All birds and owners are individuals, not every bird will talk and some never become tame. As long as the bird is healthy you should enjoy your bird and except that it is an individual.
Check out our collection of bird training books
This is a decision only you can make.
To Clip : If you decide to clip the wing cut only 4 or 5 of the flight feathers, this is enough to keep most birds off balance when flying. Some birds with clipped wings can counter balance and still fly. Ensure the bird is out of harms way, away from other pets and not under foot as it will not be able to fly from danger. Remember to clip only one side. It makes no difference whether it be the left or right wing.
Not To Clip: The bird will be able to fly from danger. ∑ It will still be able to be trained. This way your bird is trained through trust and confidence which is satisfying for you.